ABOVE PHOTO: Pa. State Treasurer Stacy Garrity visits the College’s Nursing Simulation Laboratory at the Marple Campus in Delaware County to promote the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program. Pictured from left: a nursing student; nursing clinical instructor Anne-Marie Guthrie; College President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black; Pa. State Treasurer Stacy Garrity; Pa. State Senator Tim Kearney and a nursing student. (Photo/dccc.edu)
Pa. State Treasurer Stacy Garrity and Tara Loew, director of the Apprenticeship and Training Office of the State Department of Labor and Industry, paid separate visits to the College’s locations in Marple and Downingtown respectively recently to tout career training and the importance of saving for college.
In the morning, Loew visited the College’s Downingtown location, hosted by the Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce, to talk about how business leaders can leverage the substantial benefits of registered apprenticeships to build their workforces
. Loew said the mass exodus of baby boomers from the workforce, the record-low labor force participation rate of prime-aged potential workers, and one of the lowest birth rates in U.S. history, have all contributed to a severe skilled labor shortage that has only been exacerbated by the global pandemic.
“The U.S. is suffering the beginning phases of a great sansdemic; sansdemic means without people, or in our case without enough people,” Loew said, referring to the skills gap faced by many employers today.
One way to address the sansdemic, Loew said, is through registered apprenticeships like the ones offered by Delaware County Community College in partnership with regional employers. Registered apprenticeships, which can last from one to six years, offer potential workers paid employment while they receive on-the-job training, classroom instruction, mentoring, industry-recognized credentials and no debt for their education and training.
For the employer, Loew continued, registered apprenticeships offer highly skilled employees, customizable training, loyal employees and a closing of the worker skills gap. “Registered apprenticeship is an investment by the employer in their workforce,” Loew said. “Because of that sansdemic, I think employers are understanding now that they do need to invest in their workforce.”
Pennsylvania has more than 1,500 registered apprenticeship programs with employers & educational institutions, with more than 17,000 people enrolled as apprentices, Loew said. Ninety four percent of all apprentices stay with the employer who helped train them, she said, adding that the state and federal government are planning to provide substantial funding to ramp up registered apprenticeship programs in the coming years.
Karen Kozachyn, the College’s vice president for Workforce and Economic Development, who also spoke at the request of the Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce, highlighted three of the College’s registered apprenticeships, including two at the Philadelphia Navy Yard with the U.S. Naval Foundry and Propeller Center and with private shipbuilder Philly Shipyard Inc. Separately, the College also has registered apprenticeships in Early Childhood Education. Kozachyn invited chamber members to partner with the College on creating more apprenticeship programs.
Later in the day, Garrity also emphasized the importance of career and technical education during a visit to a nursing simulation laboratory at the College’s Marple Campus in Delaware County. Garrity stressed the importance of Pennsylvanians saving for their children’s education using the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, administered through the Treasurer’s Office.
“Business owners in all corners of the Commonwealth have told me they need highly skilled workers, which requires the specialized training that schools like Delaware County Community College can provide,” she said. “Treasury’s PA 529 plans are the perfect tool to help families save for the education their child will need to find a great job.”
Delaware County Community College President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black agreed, saying the College stands ready to help.
“Whether students are interested in careers in the skilled trades, such as welding and carpentry, or desire to transfer to a four-year university, Delaware County Community College will enable them to achieve their career and academic goals,” she said. “We offer short-term training leading to industry recognized certificates, longer-term education and training leading to associate degrees, as well as more than 30 transfer agreements that allow students to seamlessly transfer to four-year schools at considerable savings.”
To learn more about Delaware County Community College’s continuing education programs, visit: www.dccc.edu/continuing-education. To learn more about Pennsylvania registered apprenticeships, visit: www.dli.pa.gov/Individuals/Workforce-Development/apprenticeship/Pages/default.aspx . To learn more about the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, visit: www.pa529.com/ .